grateful amazement

finding wonder…everywhere.

July 2010 – July 2015 :: A Cancer Survivor’s Retrospective :: Day Eighteen

on July 18, 2015

Soul spirals.
Those times when, despite your best, bravest efforts, you feel your heart and spirit being dragged down a whirling vortex of worries, a funnel cloud of frustrations, a tumult of troubles.
Ever have a day like that?
I’m here to tell you I can totally relate.
I can find myself tumbling at the slightest click of a trigger.
To make matters worse, I am a champion Kitchen Sink-er, too.
You know, when the thing that has your spirit gray and soggy follows you around like the little cloud Winnie the Pooh’s pal Eeyore drags with him…and then you think of EVERY OTHER REASON YOU SHOULD BE FEELING BAD…so you proceed to catalog and inventory EVERY LITTLE THING till you get to the Kitchen Sink…and you figure it CAN’T GET MUCH WORSE so you toss that Sink in there, too.
Isn’t that just thow we do?
(Tell me I’m not alone in this.)

What do you and I need most on days like that?
How do we stop the spiral?

It really is all about how we see those things that threaten to leave our souls tossed and turned and twisted, if you ask me.
One of my favorite authors, Glennon Doyle Melton, combines a couple words to paint a great word picture that illustrates the way we see is often more important that what we see…
Perspective + Spectacles = Perspectacles
Isn’t that awesome?

So there’s some hope for us Kitchen Sink Spiralers, right?
It’s as simple – and as hard – as this…
We can choose which perspectacles to wear on any given day.

(On a side note, realizing that the perspectacles that others wear may not filter things exactly the same way ours do can go a long way in promoting understanding and grace in our relationships, don’t you think?)


December 13, 2012 (from my CaringBridge Journal)
I’d like to say I have definitive, positive, clear, concise info to share here regarding the results of the Right Pit Ultrasound I had on Tuesday. I’d like to say that, but I can’t. At least, not yet.

Dr Reynolds’ nurse called Tuesday afternoon with the news that the radiologist’s report concluded there is a ‘hyper-avid lymph node that is reactive and possibly structurally suspicious’ and, instead of having a repeat ultrasound in 3 months, I’m slotted to have a chest CT scan in 6 weeks. My understanding at this point is that they think it’s likely nothing (and quite possibly due to the trauma from the mastectomy/expander placement and the angry histamine reaction I had to that bovine bit) but are uncertain enough that it warrants closer follow-up than originally planned.

It’s pretty much an inconclusive conclusion and that means more unknowns.

And, honestly, it’s taken me these two days to process the emotions that began cascading after I hung up from the nurse’s call. All the resiliency, all the positivity, all the faith, all the belief, all the stamina, all the hope — I felt like it was all draining out of me and pooling in a mud-colored puddle that quickly became ankle-deep and threatened to solidify like so much quick-set cement. It didn’t feel fair that #1 – the damn PET scan WASN’T CLEAR and #2 – the frickin’ follow-up ultrasound only CREATED MORE UNKNOWNS. (Pardon my blue language.)

As I felt my heart start its spiral downward, it was like the tornado scene from The Wizard of Oz, minus the famous music…all the ‘reasons’ I had to throw the Biggest Pity Party In History whizzed past my mind’s eye: I had been diagnosed with cancer, I am still waiting for all the different systems in my body that went wonky from the 52 weeks of chemo to come back online, I had to leave a job I really liked, money is tighter than it would be if I still brought home a paycheck, my creativity had disappeared in the years of battling health issues, my girls have missed out on so many of the Fun Mom things I used to do but haven’t been able to for so long, the empty walls of my house that mock me because I haven’t allotted energy to hang things, the dirty toilets (and showers and tubs and counters and mirrors and floors and appliances, etc..) that scream ‘FAILURE!’ at me when the day ends and I have spent my energy for the day on something other than cleaning, the broken relationships and betrayals that have become mile markers along the way and the worry that I’ll never figure out the ins-and-outs of healthy interaction, the fears of never finding my new self and/or a new normal in all of this…sheesh, I think I even spotted the kitchen sink in the milieu!

Please, tell me I’m not alone in this. That we all spiral, with everything but the kitchen sink swirling pathetically around our heads and hearts. That sometimes the trigger is a phone call, lack of sleep, snotty kids, or even just low blood sugar. It sure would be good to know I’m not alone. Because I sure felt a tad crazy in the middle of it.

And then, this morning, I woke up super early in a darkened bedroom with the yummy Gerard Butler yelling something like ‘This is Sparta!’ over and over again as part of a dance remix (no, it wasn’t a waking nightmare…just the alarm sound on my phone *smile) and I realized that the darkness inside my heart had lifted a little. in His mercy, God showed me that each of those Poor Me’s had an answer, and those answers made up my very own Yellow Brick Road…yes, I’d been diagnosed with cancer AND THANK GOD THEY CAUGHT IT EARLY! I do have some wonky systems after all that chemo AND THAT CHEMO SAVED MY LIFE! I miss my job AND SOMEDAY, WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT, I’LL FIND ANOTHER FULFILLING VOCATION! Money is tight AND WE STILL HAVE ALL WE NEED AND A GOD WHO IS FAITHFUL IN PROVISION! I feel stifled creatively AND ALL I HAVE TO DO IS ONE LITTLE THING EACH DAY TO NURTURE IT BACK TO VIBRANCY! My girls have missed out on some things AND I STILL HAVE THAT FUN MOM-NESS AT MY CORE, READY TO BLESS THEM! The walls are empty AND I CAN ASK MY HELPFUL HUBBY TO HANG A FEW THINGS AT A TIME WITH ME! I do hear ‘Failure!’ when I look around at the grime and dust bunnies AND I CAN MASTER THE ‘LICK AND A PROMISE’ METHOD UNTIL I HAVE BUILT UP STAMINA TO CLEAN LIKE I MEAN IT! The pain of the broken relationships and betrayals is real AND I CAN KEEP TURNING THE HURT OVER TO THE ONE WHO INTIMATELY KNOWS THAT PAIN! I do worry about being able to figure out healthy interaction AND I CAN PRAY FOR DISCERNMENT AND TRUST GOD WITH THE UNFOLDING! Finding and defining my new self and this new normal is overwhelming AND I CAN ACCEPT THAT I DON’T HAVE TO GET IT ALL RIGHT ALL THE TIME – IT’S A PROCESS! And as far as that darn kitchen sink, I CAN DO MY BEST TO LEAVE IT RIGHT WHERE IT IS – IN THE KITCHEN! *wink

I am so thankful to have found this Yellow Brick Road! Especially in light of the fact that the unknowns surrounding the hyper-avid node can sometimes feel an awful lot like walking through a forest of Talking Trees or being carried away by the Wicked Witch of the West’s Flying Monkeys.

My chest CT is scheduled for January 22. I am going to pray for the strength and hope to get through these next few weeks with an abundance of faith and joy and that sweet peace that passes understanding. I’ll pray the same for you in the midst of your holidays, too, ok?

All you have to do is know where you’re going. The answers will come to you of their own accord. ~Earl Nightingale


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